How do people usually start a conversation with a stranger? The most universal subject to break the ice between two strangers is the weather. Why? Because there is always something to say about it! Besides, you can feel comfortable when you talk about the weather because it is a neutral, safe and uncompromising topic.

In this article you are going to learn everything to master this ice-breaking topic in French. Once you will have finished reading, you will be able to talk about the following aspects:

  • practical words and phrases to talk about the weather
  • description of the weather outside
  • seasons
  • extreme weather conditions
  • idiomatic expressions related to the weather

So, take out your sunglasses, your umbrella and your parka: we ought to be ready for all kinds of weather conditions because we are going to dive into them right away!

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Practical Words And Phrases To Talk About The Weather

Below you will find lots of useful terms and phrases for all of the situations we have just mentioned.

Let’s talk about the weather and the climate – Parlons de la météo et du temps et du climat

Good WeatherBeau temps
The weather is nice today!Il fait beau aujourd’hui!
The sky is clear.Le ciel est dégagé
It’s sunny.Il y a du soleil.
A sunny afternoonUn après-midi ensoleillé
A tropical countryUn pays tropical
droughtla sécheresse
Rain and wet weatherPluie et temps humide
It’s rainingIl pleut
heavy/light rainune pluie forte/légère
showerune averse
il tombe des cordes it’s raining cats and dogs
a wet dayune journée humide
drizzlela bruine
it’s foggyil y a du brouillard
What’s the temperature today?
It’s 7 degrees.
Quelle est la température aujourd’hui?
Il fait 7 degrés.
The WindLe vent
it’s windyil y a du vent
don’t stay in that draught/draft!ne reste pas dans ce courant d’air!
a sudden gust of windun coup de vent subit
a breeze was blowingune brise soufflait
Cold WeatherTemps froid
it’s snowyil y a de la neige
it’s freezingça gèle
hailla grêle
the first frost of the yearla première gelée de l’année
t snowed all nightil a neigé toute la nuit

Now Let’s Describe The Weather Outside

In the following example you will be able to notice how to make weather descriptions with the previous vocabulary:

The Weather Outside – Le temps qu’il fait dehors

It’s January and I’m on vacation in a tropical country, Peru, but my family lives in France.

Today in Lima it’s 27 degrees. The weather is nice! It’s sunny and there is a light breeze.

But at my mother’s house, in Bordeaux, the temperature is -7 degrés.
It’s very cold. It’s freezing outside.
C’est janvier et je suis en vacances dans un pays tropical, le Pérou, mais ma famille habite en France.

Aujourd’hui à Lima, il fait 27 degrés. Il fait beau! C’est ensoleillé et il y a une brise légère.


Mais chez maman à Bordeaux, il fait -7 degrés. Il fait froid; il gèle dehors.

The seasons

Seasons are a way of dividing up the year, whatever the season, we like to listen to the weather report to know the forecast for the day. You will find some essential vocabulary to talk about seasons.

The Seasons- Les saisons

weather reportle bulletin météorologique
the forecast for the dayles prévisions pour la journée
meteorologyla météorologie
SpringLe printemps
the fruit trees have blossomedles arbres fruitiers ont fleuri
the bees and fertilizationles abeilles et les fécondations
SummerL’été
The heat is so intense, it burns up the fieldsLa chaleur est très forte, elle brûle les champs
forest firele feu de forêt
AutumnL’automne
the red windy skyle ciel rouge et venteux
the leaves are falling les feuilles tombent
WinterL’hiver
Winter vacation / holidayLes vacances d’hiver
the icy cold December fogle brouillard glacial de décembre

Extreme Weather Conditions

We all have experienced climate change: long periods of exorbitantly high temperatures, heavy droughts and rains, more intense deluges and floods. Earth warming has increased the number and power of extreme weather conditions. Some of them are:

Extreme Weather Conditions – Des conditions météorologiques extrêmes 

storml’orage
hurricane l’ouragan
cyclonele cyclone
typhoonle typhon
tornadola tornade
whirlwindle tourbillon
snowstormla tempête de neige
hailstorml’averse de grêle
blizzardla tourmente
floodl’inondation
torrential rainle déluge

Idioms Related To The Weather

In English there are lots of idioms that have to do with the weather because of the meaning or because of the form. For example:  to chase rainbows, come rain or come shine, or it’s raining cats and dogs. Well, in French we can also find this kind of idiom! Let’s see some of them:

Idioms Related To The Weather – Expressions idiomatiques lié au climat

Idiom in FrenchExplanation
Fondre comme neige au soleil:
Il croit que ses problèmes vont fondre comme neige au soleil.
To disappear very quickly, to melt away.
He thinks his problems will just disappear.
Faire la pluie et le beau temps:
Il faut parler avec M. Berlion; il fait la pluie et le beau temps.
Someone who has the power to make decisions in the name of a group of people; to be very influential.
We must talk to Mister Berlion, he’s the one who makes the decisions.
Il y a de l’orage dans l’air:
Daniel ne parle plus avec David...il y a de l’orage dans l’air.
A tense environment previous to an argument.
Daniel has stopped talking to David… there is trouble brewing.
Briser, rompre la glace:
Pour rompre la glace, le prof nous a proposé un petit jeu de société.
To break the ice.
In order to break the ice, the teacher proposed playing a board game.

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